I'm fascinated by how central food is to our socialization, whether it's in the preparation, presentation, or consumption. Before we can get to any of those steps though, we must first ACQUIRE food. This can be a daunting process, especially during the first few attempts. Grocery shopping on your own may not sound that difficult, but trust me, it can be.
So, I recommend a system, a plan! Dr. James Davis would call the results of doing this "decreasing your think time." If you make a game plan before actually getting to the grocery store, you will spend less time in the actual store and in the grocery shopping mindset altogether. This leaves more time for everything else you might enjoy doing.
So here are five tips to help you be more efficient on your grocery trips:
1. Make a List
Make a list of the food items that you anticipate wanting to eat regularly, your staples. Think about things like preparation time, how easily you'll get tired of it, and how healthy it is, etc. Also, decide how often you're going to go grocery shopping. You don't want to go multiple times a week if you don't have to. Planning ahead cuts this out. I recommend going once a week or once every two weeks.
2. Set a Budget
Set up a budget for how much money you are able and willing to spend on groceries a month. Break this down into how much you can spend a shopping trip. Don't disregard how much you might eat out. If you don't know how much the items on your list cost, tag along with your family on the next shopping trip and take note of their prices and their location in the store. If necessary, adjust your list of staples based on these prices and your budget.
3. Look Before You Leave
These steps are helpful for grocery shopping in general. Now, as it relates to more specific, individual trips: check your cupboards and the refrigerator before you leave, make a list of staples that you're low on, and think about any meals you want to prepare soon - add to the list all of the ingredients that you need to make them.
4. Find The Sales
When you get to the store, check out the sales ad if you're interested and know which foods you're brand loyal to and which ones you can waver on based on a good deal.
5. Don’t Aimlessly Wander
As you get used to shopping on your own, you'll start to become familiar with where things are located. Even at the beginning though, consider shopping from one end of the store to the other. Don't start in the middle and jump all over the place, if you can avoid it. You don't need to walk every aisle either. Just focus on the items on your list.
So, know what you like, budget for it, make a list each time you shop, and stick to the list for the most part (especially when it's crunch time) and you'll be a grocery shopping pro before you know it. :)